March 28, 2005
Q: Often times, when I singleclick my mouse, I get the results of a double-click. I have carefully watched how I click the mouse, but it just seems to have a mind of its own sometimes! Any suggestions? — Neil
A: The mouse has become such a fundamental component in our interactions with computers that when we experience anything that varies from the norm, it can be extremely irritating.
Over the past 15 years, I have had many a battle with a horde of mice, many of which have ended up being dealt with "kinetically" (I threw them at the wall!).
This, of course, never fixed the problem, but it does bring some measure of the "I’ll show you who’s boss" satisfaction to the experience.
Before you relegate your little pointing device to the ultimate destination, here are some things that you can try:
Most versions of Windows will allow you to change the number of clicks necessary to open an item. It’s a handy option for those that want to reduce the number of clicks needed (such as those suffering from repetitive stress injuries), but it can be tricky to get used to. If you want to make sure that you are in the default (double-click) setting, do the following:
• For Windows XP and Windows ME open the My Computer icon and click on the Tools menu, then on Folder Option. Make sure "Doubleclick to open an item (single click to select)" is selected.
• For Windows 98, Windows 95, and Windows NT open "My Computer" and click on the View menu, then on Options or Folder Options. If "Web Style" is selected, click "Classic Style" then click OK.
Since you have already examined how you are clicking, you may want to change the double-click speed, which will help Windows determine when you want to actually perform the task.
Open the "Control Panel" and then open the "Mouse" icon to work with the mouse properties. Depending upon the brand and model of mouse as well as the software that was installed, one of the tabs will allow you to access the "double-click speed."
If things are opening too often that you did not intend, your speed may be set too low. The slower the speed setting the more likely two separate single-clicks will be confused as a double click. Move the slide bar to a faster setting and use the Test Area to make sure that the new setting is comfortable for your use.
If that does not help, it is most likely either a software or hardware problem.
To check the software, uninstall any special mouse software that may have been installed with the mouse (typically allowing you to program the buttons) and just use the standard Windows driver for the mouse. (Advanced users can test in Safe Mode to eliminate possible driver issues on PS/2 connected mice.)
You also can download the latest mouse drivers from the manufacturer’s Web site (search for "mouse drivers") and install them after uninstalling existing software.
To check the hardware, simply exchange the mouse with another system. If the problem follows the mouse, than it’s a bad mouse. If the problem stays with the computer, then it is most likely a software driver or setting problem.
The micro - electronics under the mouse buttons do eventually go bad, so don’t be surprised if you are replacing a heavily used rodent every year or two.